There must have been a moment in the life of Cj Jilek where she stopped to smell the roses and then noticed the surrounding plants and just never looked back. Jilek is a ceramic artist who is inspired by everything about plants, the colors, the textures, the shapes, and especially the biology surrounding them.
Based in Pomona, CA Jilek works as the Assistant Studio Director at the American Museum of Ceramic Art, which gives her the opportunity to not just work with people excited about ceramics but also to work on her craft in a dedicated studio space. But Jilek wasn't always settled in to her surroundings, she has traveled all over the world including Australia, South Korea and Poland where she worked at a traditional ceramic factory in Boleslawiec. Jilek's work is a direct reflection of her environment and looking throughout her body of work, one can see it manifest. Jilek states, "When I lived in the Midwest and flew over the agricultural areas my vessels referenced the aerial patterns of the fields, near the ocean it referenced sea life and the shoreline, in cities it’s more architectural." In a way her sculptural pieces become tangible memories.
Another aspect to Jilek's work is a very sensual look that addresses "sensuality, sexuality, attraction, desire, eroticism and acceptance" all elements that come to mind when one gazes upon Jilek's pieces. In fact Jilek's work also holds a higher purpose for her pieces, she states "I'd like for our natural sexuality to not carry the shame and stigma that is attached to it in so many societies and cultures." But Jilek's sculptures are not solely feminine she also creates masculine pieces "When I pair two sculptures together I’m playing with the relationship and tension between forms to elicit the apprehension and anticipation that can arise with human attraction" said Jilek.
Never one to sit still Jilek now embarks on a trip back to Australia, this time as a presenter at Stepping Up: 14th Annual Australian Ceramics Triennial 2015. To off set the costs Jilek began a kick-starter campaign to raise funds, which ends June 11, 2015. However the hosts of the conference, the Australian Ceramics Association, suffered a fire recently so Jilek has graciously dedicated a small portion of the funds raised to help the ACA recover after such a devastating fire.
Jilek will be teaching Mold Making/Slip Casting classes this fall at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, CA. She will also be doing workshops at the following:
Stepping Up: 14th Australian Ceramics Triennial 2015, July 9-11, 2015, Canberra, ACT, Australia
Gold Coast Potters Association, July 19, 2015, Benowa, OLD Australia
Auckland Studio Potters, August 8 & 9, 2015, Auckland, New Zealand
Northern Rivers Pottery Supplies, August 1& 2, 2015, Lismore, NSW, Australia
Palos Verdes Art Center, Sept 12 &13, 2015, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
California Now, June 14-Aug 21, 2015 at Richmond Art Center, Richmond, CA
McGroaty Arts Center Presents: 12th Annual Ceramics Invitational Exhibition, June 13- June 27, 2015 Tujunga, CA
Coastline Community College Art Gallery, July 18 – August 18, 2015, Newport Beach, CA
History in the Making, Sep 4- 25, 2015, Carbondale Clay Center, Carbondale, CO
Stepping Up Ceramics Conference & Exhibition July 9-11, Canberra, Australia